Nancy Mitford provides an in-depth insight into the personality of Frederick the Great, especially through the extensive archives of his letters. These, coupled with Mitford's analysis of his character, have the power to change one's perception of Frederick; such a detailed view of his life brings to light the aspects of the person and not just his actions. This is done through the author's heavily narratorial structure, which is apt for certain events in his life, such as Frederick's relationship with his father. It seems Frederick's attempted escape from Prussia as a young man can only be written in such a way; this is because the event itself could come from any work of fiction such is the excitement of the story. However, with periods in Frederick's life such as the Seven Years War, a more analytical and broad approach to describing war would be more appropriate. Describing the events of the war around Frederick's relative position to particular events meant that broader context of the war wasn't easily understandable.
It is therefore important to remember that this a biography of the man, Frederick II, not a history of his reign.
eBook Frederick the Great